Factors influencing ownership of development projects by the communities: a case of Kiambaa Constituency, Kenya
Kinoti, Emily K
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The purpose of this study was to explore factors that influence ownership of development projects by communities in Kiambaa constituency. Donors, NGOs and well-wishers had poured a lot of funds to finance development projects. Others had been involved in various community empowerment activities including capacity building and resource mobilization. However, after their departure, the projects were seen collapsing or deserted completely and yet people still needed the services provided by the projects. These stalled projects included halfway built hospitals, deserted schools, collapsing cattle dips, potholed roads, broken water pipes, semi literate children, to mention just a few. Lack of ownership of development projects by the concerned communities had been blamed for such a collapse. In this study, 'ownership' of projects involved two related concepts: community's right to expect returns and services from the project, on the one hand, and on the other, the community's responsibility to the project so as to ensure the returns and services. If ownership was to be embraced, sustainability of projects that would lead to economical and social development would be possible. Also, if well maintained, the same projects would have the potential to absorb a large number of job seekers in rural areas that would reduce, if not eliminate, dependency syndrome in communities. It is for these reasons that this study proposed to determine the factors that influenced ownership of development projects by communities in Kiambaa constituency in Central Province of Kenya. In particular, the study was to explore how leadership, availability of resources, community expectations on project returns and community participation in projects influenced the ownership of development projects. The survey and observation data collection methods were employed. Open and closed ended questionnaires were administered to the respondents who consisted of members from 7 FBO/CBOs in Kiambaa constituency, chosen through random sampling technique. The findings showed that accountability and transparency of leadership influences ownership of development projects to a great extent, indicated by 79.2% ofthe total respondents. Secondly, 75% respondents showed that availability of funds influences ownership of development projects whereby 35.4% indicated earning less than a dollar per day. The study also showed that 56.3% had moderate and high expectations on the returns from the project, and 42.7% respondents indicated having withdrawn from participating in development projects. The study recommended that community members be involved in decision making on development projects, and that their decisions to be considered when implementing development them. The study also recommended that Communities should be encouraged to own projects by injecting their own resources and participating in development projects for sustainability. It was also recommended that the donors, NGOs and other external development agents to let communities identify their own problems/needs before implementing a project in their community.